GAA Football

Ladies Football: All-Ireland champions Donaghmoyne face Clann Eireann test

 Donaghmoyne players celebrate with the cup after beating Mourneabbey in last years final
Louise Gunn

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REIGNING Ulster and All-Ireland champions Donaghmoyne put their titles on the line when they host Clann Eireann in the semi-final of the Ulster Senior Club Championship tomorrow (2pm).

The Monaghan champions received a bye to the last four stage, so tomorrow’s match will be their first since beating Eire Og for the county title in August.

Opponents don’t come much tougher than Clann Eireann. The Armagh champions have always given their Monaghan opposition a real battle when the sides have met in previous years, but Donaghmoyne have always come out on top. Amanda Casey, captain of the Lurgan side, is expecting another close encounter.

“Clann Eireann have always been a great team and there are always very tough battles between the two sides and I can’t see Sunday being any different,” said the midfielder.

“It’s nice to have home advantage but we always feel it’s all about performance on the day and just because we are playing at home doesn’t mean we don’t have to work as hard as if it’s away. I’m sure Clan Eireann will put up a massive game.”

The game will also be emotionally charged for the Donaghmoyne contingent. Earlier this year, sisters Cathriona and Sandra McConnell lost their father Vincent, 
while more recently another player, Hazel Kingham, lost her father Walter. Both men were massive supporters of their daughters and the club Donaghmoyne. Last year the club suffered the loss of chairman Martin Daly, who was a big driving force behind their All-Ireland success.

“It has been a terrible year for the club losing people close to the team and it’s going to be a very tough day for Hazel,” said Casey.

“But I know all the girls will lift it and work harder than ever for Hazel and in memory of Walter who was an ever-present supporter of the ladies.”

Clann Eireann have yet to get one over on their opposition at this level but there is no reason not to believe that this can be the year they finally do, says captain Rhona O’Mahony. 

“Every game in Ulster is a big step up and playing this great Donaghmoyne team will be a massive challenge. 

“Donaghmoyne have been the best team of the current era in Ulster and at All-Ireland level. We haven’t beaten them yet but I hope we have learnt lessons and can put those into play on Sunday,” she said.

“We learnt a lot from our game against [Cavan champions] Lurgan and know that we still had a lot of work to do to raise our game again to play Donaghmoyne.”

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